First chemo treatment today

It is 10 pm, 9 and a half hours since my first chemo treatment ended, and I feel pretty good.  It was a 5 hour process. Starting at 7:30 am, Nurse Sue (an advocate of socialized medicine – I happen to agree with her on that one) was pretty efficient with getting me settled into Infusion Bay #3. She got my IV line going, hooked up the saline drip, and then got me a pillow and a blanket. The results of yesterday’s blood tests had come back normal, but my medical oncologist had ordered potassium and magnesium be added to the saline drip since my chemo drug, Cisplatin, apparently causes levels of both to drop. The large quantity of saline (2 quarts before the chemo, and another quarter after) is designed to keep my kidneys lubricated and active – the chemo can do real damage to the kidney if it is allowed to accumulate there.

Two hours and two quart bags of drip later, I was ready for the anti-nausea drugs (nausea is the most common side effect of Cisplatin). First was Emend, a “fosaprepitant” drug that is (according to cancer.org) “especially good for treating delayed nausea and vomiting. When given in a vein (IV), one dose covers the next 3 days…It’s often given along with a 5-HT3-receptor antagonist and a steroid, and augments their anti-emetic effects.” Indeed. Next came a mix of Odansetron (the Serotonin 5-HT3 antagonist) and Dexamethasone (the steroid). That all took another hour or so, and then I was ready for the chemo drug.

The Cisplatin (yes, platinum is one of the ingredients used – I can’t wait to see the bill!) came in a 400ml pouch and was administered more slowly than the saline drip, presumably because it’s basically poison & can do real damage to tissues if it escapes from the blood stream during administration. In my case, it all went in smoothly through the IV line – I didn’t have any discomfort and there was no redness around the IV catheter. That was another hour.

The process wrapped up with the final pouch of saline, and then I was done. For those of you who are wondering, I peed four of five times during the session. The IV stuff was all attached to a rolling cart, so I was able to walk down to the washroom with ease. I felt surprisingly good at that point, and have felt pretty good ever since. My stomach feels a little upset, but that’s hardly surprising since I had a burger & shake for lunch and then a decent dinner this evening. Or maybe it helped, who knows. I feel a little weird in the head, but I suspect that’s the steroid (they warned me that I might have trouble sleeping tonight). I also have the tiniest hint of a headache, but nothing much at all. Hopefully my experience today will be representative of my chemo experience overall.

Lastly, and in the spirit of using chalk to cross out passing the days on the prison wall, I had my fifth radiation session this afternoon. So I’m one-eighth of the way through those. And one-sixth of the way though my chemo treatments. Fine progress, I’d say!

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4 Responses to First chemo treatment today

  1. Ingrid says:

    Amazing play by play, although scientifically wild, I’d rather you didn’t have to have such a blog!

  2. Cousin Lisa says:

    Great news!

  3. George says:

    Sean,Scott shared this blog. You are in our prayers. I can relate to ur high dose radiation treatment as this was my course of treatment coming on seven years ago now for prostate cancer. I would treat myself to a butterscotch milk shake after each treatment. One might think after 45, I would have switched flavors. Still my favorite!

    Keep your PMA. Best commrade to your treatment regimen to fight C.

  4. DomInic Gibb says:

    Sean
    Glad to hear treatment isn’t making you feel too crap so far. Will keep checking out your progress. All the best. Dom

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